As SiteMinder turns 15, we checked in with our partner community for insights into what the future may bring
Below is a selection of predictions for the next 15 years in travel from SiteMinder’s global partner community.
“We’re seeing some fundamental changes in the way people are travelling, with the lines between travel and living continuing to blur. Many of those fortunate enough to be able to work remotely are embracing greater flexibility and new ways of travelling – from workations, to longer-term stays and even life as a digital nomad. We recently announced more than 100 upgrades and improvements across our entire service that cater to this growing desire for flexibility among guests.”
Carlos Muñoz – Hotelbeds
“We expect the whole travel experience to become much more frictionless, driven initially by changing customer habits as a result of Covid but also by an increasing desire for seamless and automated transactions across all touchpoints – at the airport, at the car hire desk, at the hotel, at the theme park and so on. The automation of processes, both from a B2B and a B2C perspective, will no longer be an option but a necessity, driven by machine learning and A.I., while the use of consumer and market data to predict and inspire tailored traveller choices and experiences will be a differentiator in what is becoming an unpredictable market environment. Digitalisation aside, the growth of responsible and sustainable travel will be exponential as consumers become increasingly more environmentally-conscious and seek out providers with the highest green credentials.”
“Digitalisation aside, the growth of responsible and sustainable travel will be exponential as consumers become increasingly more environmentally-conscious and seek out providers with the highest green credentials.”
Gabriel Menis – Expedia Group
“At Expedia Group we believe that travel is a force for good. No matter if travelling for business or leisure, the experience of connecting with people and places, in person, is something that no technology can replace. One thing I would predict with fair accuracy is that the demand for travel will continue. Here are some other things I believe we will also see: vacation rentals will continue to grow. New destinations will come to light and become popular – there are so many beautiful places and cultures for all to see. We will see more travel companies focusing on sustainability. Mobile will reign, from shop, to book, to check-in, to room service, to reviews, to check-out (hopefully we won’t see old phones in hotel rooms anymore). No technology will replace the actual experience of travelling!”
“Technology innovations continue to transform every industry and job role across the world, and the hospitality industry is certainly no exception. In the coming 15 years, I see a number of forces coming into play that will change the way we operate. Firstly, A.I. and algorithms will create new jobs in the industry, and will allow us to further elevate the guest experience. Increased tracking will allow us to collect more data and create ultra-personalised experiences for our guests. And, finally, voice technology and speak-to-order will bring about new distribution channels. Distribution will become much less messy, with APIs allowing all systems to be seamlessly integrated to each other.”
“Looking to the future, it’s the truly creative that will stand out from the mass of hotels looking to cash in. Leisure guests will be more demanding. They’ll increasingly want to impress and show off on social media, so the hotels that will thrive will be Instagrammable and unique. They will have the right lighting, the perfect backdrop, beautiful décor, the right cocktail and the perfect couch.
Guest communication to create an authentic local experience will be crucial to driving a successful, leisure-driven business. Guests will look to hotels for inspiration and direction, but it will need to be done via social media or an app, not across the front desk with a Perspex panel in-between.”
“Guests will look to hotels for inspiration and direction, but it will need to be done via social media or an app, not across the front desk with a Perspex panel in-between.”
Josh Beckwith – Sojern
“The future of tourism is dependent on the stability of our ecosystems, so we need to focus on the impact we’re having on the natural world. If we want safaris in Kruger National Park, or to swim with tropical fish in the Maldives, travel and tourism must lower its carbon footprint, help reduce global warming, combat rising sea levels and support the recovery of endangered species.
I predict governments will become more involved in this realm, including major outbound markets taking on more responsibility when it comes to offsetting the waste and emissions from their populations travelling abroad. Many hotels and airlines already shout about the sustainability practices they build into their business models, but with an ever-discerning consumer – they will need to do this in an authentic way to attract more travellers to book with them.”
“In the next 15 years, the industry will move back to a focus on people and not so much a focus on tech. Technology is currently outgrowing our ability to comprehend what is truly important in business, and this is having a negative impact on revenues and distribution setups in the hospitality sector. I see a focus moving from a hyper-focus on software and systems, to how we can maximise our people in order to then maximise the technology that’s available.”
“In 15 years we will be able to travel virtually to any place on earth from our living rooms, travels that will include the sensations of wind and smell. But, despite these technological advancements that will be available, most of us will prefer old-fashioned hospitality, and everything that comes with enjoying our beautiful world in real life.”
“In 15 years we will be able to travel virtually to any place on earth from our living rooms, travels that will include the sensations of wind and smell. But … most of us will prefer old-fashioned hospitality.”
Marc Horner – InnQuest Software
The tourism and accommodation industries will move away from all-in-one solutions trying to cover all bases, to seamlessly (and completely) integrated vendors. This will enable each and every business to create their own bespoke systems with the components they individually need. There will be less staff intervention, with travellers taking complete control of check-in, tours, transfers, food ordering and check out from the palm of their hand (or at the command of their voice).
In such an environment, industry staff will become vital as ‘hosts’. They will be more available to engage and interact with their guests, rather than needing to provide a key or drive hotel software.”
“In our future state, domestic travel will increasingly be displaced from air to train, where routes are available. Travel into space may challenge the lack of innovation in classic air travel, and free, fast, unlimited wifi will be expected as standard while flying. Accommodation in many cases will be smaller, cleaner and more efficient, and keyless check in via face recognition will become standardised. For remote workers, hotels will be creating an elevated and more tailored experience, as working away from the office remains a norm.”
“Travel into space may challenge the lack of innovation in classic air travel. Accommodation in many cases will be smaller, cleaner and more efficient, and keyless check in via face recognition will become standardised.”
Rodd Herron – Cendyn
“The pandemic may have ushered in a new era of touchless technology to the hospitality industry, but going forward, hotels will use this as jumping off point to create even more seamless and personalised guest experiences. With the right technology systems, hotels will use devices like check-in kiosks and in-room iPads to not only offer hotel services, but to collect the data to create the ‘wow’ moments that lead to positive reviews and repeat visits as well. With that guest’s previous stay data, housekeeping can make sure their room already has the hypoallergenic pillows they always ask for, and if a loyalty guest has a delayed flight resulting in a late check-in, a trigger can be sent to the kitchen to send up a snack based off of previous in-room dining purchases. With touchless technology at the helm, anything is possible.”
“Looking forward, the hotel tech industry will become less and less fragmented. Over time, the global consolidation and standardisation of systems will accelerate, and finally payment solutions will become a critical part of the puzzle, eventually becoming the main decision driver for travellers and hospitality business operators.”